With multiple states having already legalized marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, and Canada legalizing it in 2018, questions are being raised in regards to the relationship between marijuana and sports.
Major League Baseball doesn't test for what it labels "drugs of abuse", the NFL and NBA will punish players for marijuana use, and the NHL prefers to stay quiet in regards to "drugs of abuse" usually keeping any positive tests out of the public eye and will not penalize for a test that only shows marijuana.
One former NHLer, Riley Cote, is happy that the NHL never handed out hefty fines or suspensions for marijuana or he wouldn't have played for very long.
“Nobody I’ve heard of has tested positive strictly for THC and been thrown in the substance-abuse program,” says Cote.
As a fighter, he says the use helped him majorly throughout his career.
“I’d quietly use it as an ally of mine. It helped me manage anxiety [and] pain,” he says. “There was no physical addiction. It just made me feel better.”
Cote says that too many hockey players would turn to alcohol and pain killers as a coping tool. He knew other enforcers who would lay in bed the night before games, dripping in sweat, worrying about the next fight.
“We’re not selling the silver-bullet, magical cure for all,” he says. “[Cannabis] is a tool and it needs to be treated with respect…. It’s all about increasing quality of life. It’s about helping these guys wake up the next morning, where they can feel functional enough, good enough, [that] they can enjoy their family and not worry about the pain and anxiety — that vicious cycle that generally leads to mental health issues.”
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